December 6, 1941
Under the direction of Hallie Flanagan Davis the Experimental Theatre presented T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the, Cathedral (1935). The part of the doomed Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket was played by Assistant Professor of Political Science C. Gordon Post, and Assistant Professor of Music Clair Leonard supplied a musical complement to Eliot's choral texts, which he performed on the organ. Writing in The Miscellany News, Nancy Hallinan '42 praised "the chanting in fifths, and the antiphony of voices singing and speaking at the same time" in Leonard's setting. "The overture," she continued, "centered around the three main themes of the body of the play, beginning with the churchly Te Deum theme.... We were fully prepared for the sinuous dance of the First Tempter [physical comfort and safety] by the ingratiating little jazz melody that had all the direct appeal of mild syncopation. The Second Tempter, representing secular power, entered with a motive of pomp and circumstance. Harsh dissonances accompanied the Third Tempter [revolution through conspiracy], and a swell of religious modal music was the background for the [Fourth] Tempter of spiritual power [martydom]."
In Dynamo: The Story of a College Theatre (1943), Hallie Flanagan reflected on the chronology of the play—December 2-29, 1170—and of Vassar's production which opened on December 6, 1941: “Here was a play which emphasized the common man and the part he must play in a great decision. Every word spoken by the women of Canterbury seemed to have an immediate urgency. The women desired peace and the ordinary way of life; they were disturbed by the sense of doom in the air; they were concerned not with the dream of empire or the glory of heroes, but with the business of children, of homes, of crops and harvest and apples stored against the winter. They did not want anything to happen. Yet there was upon them, as upon all of us in the fall and early winter of 1941, a sense of fate.”